How to Boost Your Child s Brainpower

By: Marina Mironov

We all know kids love playgrounds. Now, researchshows that playing on the playground can boost brainpower too! Playinghas been linked to emotional, social, motor and cognitive development.Playgrounds facilitate the benefits of pure, spontaneous and activefree play. Some ways they do it are listed below.

Play and Free Play

Whilewe take the playing done by children for granted, we seldom ponder themechanics of it. There are many ways that children play and they haveunique benefits to the child's development. Physical play such asrunning, jumping, dancing promotes physical fitness. Fantasy play suchas dressing up or pretend play expands the mind and imagination. Youngchildren play in a very simple manner, their games and scenariosbecoming more complex as they grow and develop.

Althoughstructured, organized activity has its place in a child's day; it isreally through free, spontaneous play that a child is able to developcritical thinking, problem-solving and imagination. Since most childrenare naturally active, they often combine their natural tendencyphysical activity with playing. Playgrounds provide an optimalenvironment for a child to be active, explore his environment, interactwith his peers and play in his own unique style.

Brain Development

Mostof us are aware of recent findings that the most crucial period forbrain development is under the age of five. We have all probably alsoheard that "play is important for children". There is actual sciencebehind that statement! The act of playing stimulates brain developmentand function. Vigorous gross motor activity is also critical for properbrain development, by creating and establishing vital neural pathways.

Playgroundshelp to develop a child's cognitive development, because they providesensory-motor stimuli, which directly corresponds with the smallchild's preferred method of learning. Through running, climbing andpretending, the child is building his brain while having fun!

Motor-skills

There are reports which suggestthat children which fail to properly develop motor skills by the age 5will likely have a hard time developing the essential skills later on.The best place to gain those skills at an early age seems to be theplayground. Toddlers have a chance to explore new surroundings andlearn new skills, while older children enjoy the challenge of testingtheir strength and trying more difficult pieces of equipment.Playgrounds provide the space children need to freely run and expendtheir energy and advance to the next stage of development. Children wholack physical activity might face health consequences as adults, andplaygrounds are a fun, cost-effective way of ensuring that childrenreceive the recommended amount of daily physical activity.

Thereare various physical development opportunities which playgroundspresent. Tactile panels promote manipulation and coordination; bridgesand ramps promote loco motor skills; and slides and swings promotebalance and coordination. Monkey bars and climbing ladders teachchildren fine motor control such as reaching, grasping and releasing.There are also ample opportunities for jumping, running, balancing andstretching.

Language Development, Intelligence, and Social Skills

Throughplay children learn to develop their imagination, intelligence andlanguage. The playground allows children to safely congregate withtheir peers and interact together. The children's eagerness to createand join in games expands their social and communication skills.

Throughthe act of creating games and inviting each other to play, childrenlearn societal rules and functioning in a group setting. Negotiation,cooperation and compromise are essential talents children must possessin order to feel comfortable and as if they belong in their group offriends.

The children's way of spontaneously creating "games"illustrates how playing on a playground stimulates social and emotionaldevelopment. Children, whether they know each other or not, willgravitate towards one another and start a game of "tag" or "hide andseek". Or perhaps an elaborate fantasy game will be created, with theplayground structure being transformed into a castle and the childrenbeing assigned roles of knights, kings and wizards. In order for thegame to function smoothly, vital communication must take place, throughdiscussion, agreements and the ability to resolve conflicts. A childwho can not handle his frustrations, or abide by the invented "rules"will find himself out of the game.

Summary

Thereis more to a child's play than meets the eye. Playing is crucial to thesuccessful development of the brain, body and intellect. It helps tocreate neural pathways that will last the rest of the child's life.Playing promotes motor development by exploring and expanding thelimits of the child's growing body. Finally, through playing with hispeers the child learns social, emotional and oral skills.

Playgroundequipment and space provide a suitable environment for a young child toengage in appropriate developmental play. The fact that it is a funactivity that most children enjoy will have lasting positive effects ontheir overall development.

Do your kids use your living room as a gym? DreamGYM indoor jungle gymlets them stay active all year long right in your home! They'll developagility, flexibility, balanceFeature Articles, coordination & strength.

DreamGYM jungle gym is an indoor playground and a fun exercise tool for children. Its accessories can be used outdoors with your regular backyard playground or swing set.

Kids and Teens
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